Think of your favorite novels. More than likely the protagonists
did not follow a straight line from the beginning to the end of the story.
Your life journey is the same. You are the hero of your story.
This past week, I reacquainted myself with a classic work by Pema Chodron. Nearly twenty years after its publication, The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness still provides a timely reminder to “make friends with ourselves.”
Not in a self-indulging, selfie-stick kind of way. Rather, in a healthy and mindful manner.
If you are one of those folks who can easily fall into the trap of beating yourself up ask yourself, “Why am I so hard on myself?” “Is this helping me—and those around me?”
Give yourself a break.
Consider this. Chodron maintains that “as soon as you begin to believe in something, then you can no longer see anything else. The truth you believe in and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.” Take someone who is angry. She knows she is angry. She doesn’t like that she’s angry. She has been told by others that she needs to stop it. She sees it as a detriment. And she wants to suppress the anger. Chodron suggests a different perspective.
Someone who is very angry also has a lot of energy;
that energy is what’s so juicy about him or her…
The idea isn’t to try to get rid of your anger, but to make friends with it,
to see it clearly with precision and honesty, and also to see it with gentleness.
That means not judging yourself as a bad person,
but also not bolstering yourself up by saying,
“It’s good that I’m this way, it’s right that I’m this way. Other people are terrible,
and I’m right to be so angry at them all the time.”
Her words suggest a different mindset.
Note that she is not saying anger is good. Rather, the angry one needs to acknowledge the uncomfortable emotion, do what she can to understand it and confront it, and see how the energy attached that emotion can create (has created) positives in her life. We have to be willing to make friends with ourselves, Chodron urges. That includes all the parts—not just the parts we like. All of our characteristics and traits have “a lot to teach us.”
We have to be willing to listen. Staying with the anger example, “making friends” with it involves “coming to know the anger and coming to know the self-deprecation” attached to it.
Video recommendation of the week:
Are we willing to turn our obstacles into bliss?
Think of your favorite novels. More than likely the protagonists did not follow a straight line from the beginning to the end of the story. Their journeys probably looked more like a “W” with the downward sloping lines indicating barriers, obstacles, manipulations, catastrophes and challenges. That’s what holds your interest in the story. That’s what makes your hero, well, the hero!
And our own life journey is the same. We constantly face challenges—the downward sloping lines of our own “W.” And we have encouraging times and high points of elation, too.
Chodron believes that
Life is a whole journey of meeting your edge again and again.
That’s where you’re challenged; that’s where, if you’re a person who wants to live,
you start to ask yourself questions like, “Now, why am I so scared?
What is it that I don’t want to see? Why can’t I go any further than this?”
Individuals who are willing to wake up and make friends with themselves
are going to be very beneficial, because they can work with others,
they can hear what people are saying to them,
and they can come from the heart and be of use.
We would help a friend or family member come to terms with a challenge be it with anger, self-esteem, or confidence. So why don’t we use our own Board of Directors to help us sort through things. Find mentors and wise counsel to assist as needed; to grow from the adversity; to become a better version of ourselves.
And why not befriend ourselves along the way, as well?
Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.
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(c) 2015. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.